For 2016, MotoGP has decided to go with a new safety car. Based on the M2 Coupé, the BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car is the new highlight of the MotoGP fleet and immediately takes a leading role in the quest to get the field of top-class riders round the racetrack quickly and safely in the coming rounds of the World Championship.
The safety car has the same drivetrain as the M2 Coupe, sporting 272 kW from the twin turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six.
In the BMW M factory in Garching, the production car was modified, optimised and prepared by hand for its new role in MotoGP. As well as exclusive tailor-made solutions and mandatory safety features, the engineers at BMW M Division also equipped the Safety Car with an extensive array of BMW M Performance Parts.
Apart from looking good, the add-ons also play a practical role in the areas of aerodynamics, cooling and lightweight design. Many of the M Performance Parts, including the lowered thread chassis and exhaust with flap system, are also available as retrofit components for the BMW M2 Coupé.
It took the team at the M factory a full 10 weeks to convert the standard M2 into the official MotoGP Safety Car. The project started way back in early October 2015. The result is a truly unique M2.
One of the first tasks to face the technicians was to remove the rear sight on the basic model and free up the undercarriage. The supports for the roll cage, anchors for the six-point harness and bracket for the fire extinguisher were then welded into place. The cage itself was manufactured based on the BMW M4 GTS and adapted to the spatial requirements of the M2 Coupé.
The flat light bar on the roof features the very latest LED technology and control electronics. The prototype workshop manufactured a bracket accordingly, the design of which boasted both impressive aerodynamics and an athletic look. The lightweight, sandwich-style bracket consists of an under laminate, a perforated sheet in the centre and a carbon-fibre covering in the same colour as the car, which fits in superbly with the overall look. The internal metal panel not only absorbs tensile forces, but also helps secure the light bar, which can easily be removed for transport purposes.
The light bar is controlled via a specially developed control panel in the cockpit. Here, the crew can select from various lighting programmes and flash frequencies. The electrics experts have also installed additional flashing LED lights on the front and rear of the car. The respective control units stem from the SES specialists and were adapted for use in MotoGP. Blue LEDs are used on the front grille, while the Corona rings surrounding the headlights also flash. On the rear of the car, flashing red LEDs replace the reversing lights found on the production car. All signalling systems can be controlled separately and ensure maximum attention out on the racetrack.
Although the M Performance coilover suspension and Michelin Cup tyres are wonderfully in harmony with the standard M compound brakes on the M2, the engineers in the M factory opted for carbon-ceramic brakes, derived from the BMW M3/M4.
A racing hood latch was fitted. And because the BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car will also be used in overseas races, a battery master switch and fuel pumping device help to guarantee safety when being transported by air.
Shortly before the end of the project, the attention switched back to the upholsterers. Many trim parts in the interior were re-upholstered – a task that required considerable effort. Again, it is hard to imagine the amount of work involved, as all the new parts were required to be re-upholstered. These parts are covered with leather or Alcantara, before being welded using ultrasound.
Cutting a long story short, the interior and exterior of the new BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car represents the racing know-how of BMW M Division in its purest form. Many of the prototype parts on the new Safety Car is feature in gold.
The paintwork is Alpine White and the typical BMW M livery, the car also features striking gold components, such as the roll cage, wheels, brake calipers, rear wing mounts, seat brackets, steering wheel spokes and contrast stitching. The golden badge in the decorative trim is proof that the staff in the M factory give their full attention to even the smallest of details. It features a special engraving, underscoring the fact that the new BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car is one of a kind.